Michael Schumacher’s win in Buenos Aires was not only his first of the season but it also ended McLaren’s domination of the season so far.
Schumacher qualified second on the grid, splitting the McLarens of David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen, and was dominant throughout the race once he had passed Coulthard on the fourth lap. The pass itself was not without incident as, in what was almost a mirror image of his own controversial collision with Jacques Villeneuve at Herez last year, he braked late into a right-hander only to find Coulthard turn across him when he was already committed to the inside line.
The cars wheels touched and Coulthard’s McLaren, losing a sizeable piece of its’ undertray, leapt a foot into the air before spinning off onto the grass. Luckily he kept the engine running and was able to continue but was out of the running for the lead which became a two-horse race between Schumacher and Hakkinen.
Even using a two-stop strategy and taking a short, unintentional detour across the grass when the track became extra slick in light rain towards the end of the race Schumacher was able to stay in front of Hakkinen who only took a single pit stop.
Defending champion Jacques Villeneuve went out on the 53rd lap when he too came into contact with Coulthard who tried to pass him on the outside and left him nowhere to go.
The other points paying positions went to Eddie Irvine finishing third in the second Ferrari, Alexander Wurz in a Benetton, Jean Alesi in a Sauber and David Coulthard who managed to get a single point after a very eventful day. This was another impressive result for Wurz, in only his sixth GP, as he had never raced on this track before.
Fisichella, Hill, Frentzen and Barichello rounded out the top ten and Toranosuke "Tora" Takagi finished 12th, two laps down from the leader, but got a lot of good press after a strong qualifying run in the Tyrell.
Once again Ralf Schumacher failed to finish the race after going off on the 23rd lap.
After the race Michael Schumacher praised the new, wider Goodyear tyres and said that he expects the Ferrari to be even stronger at Imola where he usually does well.